Former chief deputy Jason Upshaw and former captain Randy Fowler of the Erath County Sheriff’s Office were indicted Wednesday after officials with the Texas Attorney General’s Office presented its case to an Erath County grand jury, according to sources familiar with the case.
Upshaw and Fowler were both indicted on charges alleging abuse of official capacity and aggravated perjury. Officials with the AG’s office and District Attorney Alan Nash declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.
“There is no public information to provide at this time,” Nash said.
Upshaw and Fowler are expected to turn themselves in to authorities, but it is not clear when or where they will do so.
Wednesday’s indictments come more than two years after a slew of wrongdoings and infractions were made public at the sheriff’s office.
In June 2016 the late sheriff Tommy Bryant came under investigation by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement after it was discovered that a former deputy had completed a continuing education class for him.
In December of that year, the allegation became public and six days later Bryant took his own life.
Following Bryant’s death, Erath County officials immediately named Matt Coates as interim sheriff, and hours after that Upshaw and Fowler were placed on suspension and eventually terminated.
In July 2017 Fowler and Upshaw filed federal lawsuits against Sheriff Coates and commissioners Dee Stephens, Herbert Brown, Joe Brown and Scot Jackson claiming they were deprived of their civil rights and due process.
The suit alleges that the men were terminated and escorted out of the sheriff’s office in a “hostile and humiliating manner, creating an impression of wrongdoing.”
The lawsuit seeks a name-clearing hearing and compensation for mental anguish, lost wages and damage to their careers.
It is unclear how these indictments will affect that lawsuit.